There has been much controversy in recent months around the techniques that charities use to fundraise. As someone who has worked in fundraising for over 20 years, it’s been a challenging time and a time of reflection about not just about the charity sector operates but also how this reflects on our work here at Send a Cow.

But something has been puzzling me. It’s because there is something missing from this debate, something, which for me, is at the heart of fundraising and why Send a Cow exists in the first place. Fundraising makes people feel good. Send a Cow came about because a group of people shared a passion to do something practical about helping the world’s poorest people. Today, that principle holds true, and as a fundraiser, it is my job to invite more people to share in this passion and be able to make a difference to a cause they feel strongly about too.

Fundraising is what brings people together. Yes it raises vital funds so that Send a Cow’s projects can be delivered. But fundraising isn’t purely about an exchange of money – it never was. It’s about a relationship. A sharing of emotional empathy and rational thought about a problem that together can be solved.

Fundraising has to involve charities “asking” because you wouldn’t turn up to a party without an invite! However what I didn’t understand when I started in fundraising, was that asking was in fact about giving. Listening to the response of supporters over the years has shown me that fundraising enriches people’s lives in so many different ways.

Sometimes, giving can solve a problem such as your Christmas shopping:

‘All gifts have arrived in record time. I am delighted not only with the concept but with the friendly efficiency you have shown.’

Sometimes, it’s because, it enables you to do something practical about something you care about:

"Fabulous charity - fantastic work. People need to be given training not just aid and that is exactly what SAC does."

Sometimes, it enables you to be part of a family of people, to through Send a Cow, to feel connected to others:

“I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 50 years and live on state benefit/disability living allowance and a little extra help from the state.  I have a 46 year old son who never married and I look on Godfrey and Julius as grandsons. It has given me great delight to see how well they have done. Now I have a whole new family and I hope that a meagre amount from me each month can help them.”

And sometimes, it’s simply because it makes you feel great:

“I received such a wonderful gift today it touched me so deeply I cried.......it was the highest gift anyone could ever receive-love and appreciation. Such universal feelings of love must be passed on and since I received this opportunity to help someone today, I have chosen this way to express it.”

Yes it’s clear that the charity sector has to listen to public opinion, and work hard to build trust again. At Send a Cow we have always actively looked at how we can do better by those who give so generously to us. We outline this commitment in our Supporter Promise.

However I hope that, as a society, we can start to see the value of asking and giving again. To move from focusing on where things have gone wrong, to celebrating fundraising because it’s clear that life would be poorer without it.